Beijing Formula E: Sebastien Buemi dominates season opener

Sebastien Buemi took a dominant victory in the opening round of the 2015/16 Formula E season in China

Beijing Formula E: Sebastien Buemi dominates season opener

The Renault e.dams man led from pole position and was never headed as he eased to an eventual 11-second winning margin.

Buemi's cause was aided by team-mate Nicolas Prost having an erratic race, which began with a slightly slow getaway that allowed Nick Heidfeld to pass around the outside into Turn 1.

Prost then ran wide at Turn 3 on the second lap, dropping behind Lucas di Grassi, and spent the first half of the race stuck in fourth place.

That portion of the encounter included the championship's first full-course yellow, instigated by Simona de Silvestro's nosing her Andretti-run car into the barriers at Turn 3.

Buemi moved well clear by mid-distance, then initiated the first batch of car swaps.

Heidfeld spent too long in the pitlane and was passed by Abt Audi Sport di Grassi and Prost, but repassed the latter when the Frenchman went wide at Turn 2.

A second caution was required to deal with Antonio Felix da Costa's stricken Spark SRT_01E, after the Team Aguri driver had collided with Jacques Villeneuve at Turn 2, and at the green flag Prost was quick to take third from Heidfeld.

As Buemi managed an eight-second lead, Prost caught di Grassi rapidly, but his rear wing collapsed and he was shown a mechanical failure flag.

The Frenchman continued for a while but eventually retired in the pits, leaving di Grassi to take a comfortable second and elevating Heidfeld back into a podium position.

By this time though Dragon Racing's Loic Duval, who was one of the most efficient drivers in the opening stint, had caught the German.

Duval attacked and was rebuffed, allowing his team-mate Jerome d'Ambrosio to join the fight and launch a wild and unsuccessful lunge two laps from the end.

Duval regrouped and threw everything at Heidfeld, including his own lunge at the second chicane, but they remained in position to the flag.

Behind, an excellent energy-preserving drive from Oliver Turvey netted him sixth from 15th on the grid, having also gone a lap longer than most and benefited from other drivers circulating under the yellow.

His Team China Racing team-mate and reigning champion Nelson Piquet Jr had made a similar strategy work to run eighth, but a bizarre problem caused him to temporarily stop on track shortly after the stops.

Piquet finished a lapped 15th, and his problem promoted debutant Nathanael Berthon to seventh for a while, though he lost the place to DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird on the final lap.

It was a disappointing race for that squad, as both Bird and team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne dropped down the order after separate problems.

Bird ran straight on at Turn 3 and dropped from seventh to 11th, while Vergne was in a long-running battle with Duval before eventually finishing 12th.

Daniel Abt finished in ninth place, but received a 10-second penalty after the race for an unsafe release.

That promoted Stephane Sarrazin to ninth, and means Robin Frijns scored a point on his Formula E debut.

RESULTS - 26 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Sebastien Buemi e.dams 50m08.835s
2 Lucas di Grassi Abt 11.006s
3 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 15.681s
4 Loic Duval Dragon 16.009s
5 Jerome d'Ambrosio Dragon 16.514s
6 Oliver Turvey China 39.466s
7 Sam Bird Virgin 47.531s
8 Nathanael Berthon Aguri 58.620s
9 Stephane Sarrazin Venturi 1m07.814s
10 Robin Frijns Andretti 1m09.260s
11 Daniel Abt Abt 1m13.351s
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Virgin 1m31.040s
13 Bruno Senna Mahindra 1m50.833s
14 Jacques Villeneuve Venturi 1 Lap
15 Nelson Piquet Jr. China 2 Laps
- Nicolas Prost e.dams Broken wing
- Antonio Felix da Costa Aguri Accident
- Simona de Silvestro Andretti Accident


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Beijing Formula E: Sebastien Buemi on pole, Nelson Piquet Jr last

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